With a pair of highly educated parents — his father has two master’s degrees, his mother one — Rafid Chowdhury started prepping for college early.
“My parents sent me to the English school at great sacrifice,” says the 25-year-old Bangladesh native.
His grades were good enough to get into Oxford or Cambridge, but Chowdhury picked Oregon State University.
Curriculum played a role in his decision.
But a scholarship package, including an International Cultural Service Program (ICSP) scholarship that requires students give presentations on their home countries, cemented the choice.
Chowdhury graduated this year with a Bachelor in physics and mathematics and is looking for data analyst work while waiting for OPT approval. His job search is concentrated on the West Coast.
“I like the culture, and the people are more accepting of foreigners,” he says.
“I’m sure there are nice people in red states, but I wouldn’t consider living there. I don’t want to stand out all of the time.”
Still, the policies, tone and threatening rhetoric coming from the Trump administration concern Chowdhury.
While he plans on getting a master’s or a Ph.D. eventually, the current political climate is widening Chowdhury’s view.
“I’m inspired to be a comedian,” he says, pointing to “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah as a role model.
Or perhaps politics. “Angela Merkel has a Ph.D. in physics, you know.”